Captain Underpants

Featuring The Voices Of Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, and Kristen Schaal
Directed By David Soren

Plot: Based on the popular childrens book series, George (Hart) and Harold (Middleditch) are constantly at odds with their tyrannical Principal (Helms), until one fateful day, they turn him into their comic book creation… Captain Underpants! At first, it seems fun, but when an evil scientist takes a new job at their school (Kroll), they realize they might need a real hero to fight this very real villain.

What Works: I think this is one of those films that adults assumed they’d hate, which is why it didn’t do great in theatres. I mean, I get it. It’s called Captain Underpants. The main villain is Professor Poopypants. I totally understand why you stayed away. However, I’m not sure this one is without laughs for adults. Earlier, I reviewed the Smurfs movie, which is pretty much 100% for kids (or really nostalgic adults), and didn’t attempt to include humor for adults. Captain Underpants has a handful of jokes aimed at older audiences. Granted, most of it is aimed at middle school/elementary school aged kids, but they did try somewhat. I laughed more than a few times, and I found the core friendship of George and Harold to be well fleshed out. I really enjoyed them as a team. Luckily the film isn’t just one big Underpants film, and the main characters are these kids (more on that later). I can’t quite say it’s the best thing Dreamworks has done, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

What Doesn’t Work: Captain Underpants as a character is extremely grating (for adults). I’m sure little kids think he’s hilarious, but he’s really only funny in small doses. I think that’s why the main characters are the two kids. They really tried to balance the toilet humor aimed at kids with a more tonally appropriate film that parents won’t just need several shots of whiskey to sit through. This is one of those films where you wonder “where are all the parents?”, as things happen that normal parents would never allow. For example, the Principal keeps mandating his students attend Saturday classes (for various events). Could you imagine that shit going on in real life? That Principal wouldn’t late a week at his school. Helicopter parents are a real thing.

Final Word: If you’re going to watch this, it’s probably because your kids want to watch it. It’s not as bad as you might think a film called “Captain Underpants” might be, though I have to say “The Epic First Movie” is quite a bold statement. You’re not getting a sequel, so “The Epic Only Movie” might be a better title. The voice work here is fun. There are some laughs to be had, even for adults. Honestly, I think kids will get a kick out of it. This film is very high energy, and it never stops. Pacing is not a problem. This film is well paced, and makes good use of the 90 minute runtime. I can definitely think of worse films to watch with your kids.

Final Grade: B

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